Lateness of Dancers, Hiss Golden Messenger’s debut for Merge, is a more melodic and polished affair than we’re used to; it is also true that founder and songwriter M.C. Taylor’s songwriting and vision have grown considerably since 2013’s fine Haw. Lateness of Dancers — its title taken from a Eudora Welty story — retains that […]

Building from their 2005 debut EP, Young Mountain, Texas instrumental act This Will Destroy You moved from tense, brooding post-rock territory into a far heavier territory. A few years into their craft, the quartet had honed a sound relying on equal influence from bludgeoning doom metal and textural shoegaze guitar tones while still holding on […]

The fourth long-player from the gutsy roots rockers-turned arena-ready alt-pop spellcasters, Into the Wide offers up a more cohesive set of Americana-kissed electro-pop anthems than its strangely inert, eponymous 2012 predecessor did, invoking names like Coldplay, Elbow, the Killers, and even Electric Light Orchestra in the process. The latter looms large on the cavernous opener […]

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Thanks to good timing and some great singles, the Breeders’ second album, Last Splash, turned them into the alternative rock stars that Kim Deal’s former band, the Pixies, always seemed on the verge of becoming. Joined by Deal’s twin sister Kelley — with whom Kim started the band while they were still in their teens […]

After several ambitious projects that included 2009’s back-to-back albums Scars and Zephyr, the following year’s collaboration with Metropole Orkest, and their Attack the Block score, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton devoted some time to their lives outside of Basement Jaxx. Their break coincided with the EDM boom of the late 2000s and early 2010s, and […]

Given the confidence and brazen ambition on Gist Is, the labyrinthine debut full-length from Adult Jazz, it’s difficult to believe they’re less than a year old as a band. University of Leeds music majors Harry Burgess, Tim Slater, and Steven Wells and York University engineering student Tom Howe recorded this set in a Scottish farmhouse. […]

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One of the most winning qualities about Justin Townes Earle’s music has been its modesty; his best work is dominated by an easy, unforced groove that’s part Memphis and part Nashville, and the music doesn’t get in the way of the lyrics but glides side by side with a subtle insistence. While Earle generated a […]

Like the sci-fi warriors they always wanted to be, Chrome were a band that never seemed to fit in with the times, whatever the time happened to be; conjuring a warped vision of the future that anticipated industrial culture while also looking back to the noisy primitivism of the Stooges and the Silver Apples, Chrome […]

If Rum Sodomy & the Lash captured the Pogues on plastic in all their rough-and-tumble glory, If I Should Fall from Grace with God proved they could learn the rudiments of proper record making and still come up with an album that captured all the sharp edges of their musical personality. Producer Steve Lillywhite imposed […]

Mercurial Canada-born, England-based singer/songwriter Al Spx laid the groundwork for her self-described “doom soul” movement on 2012’s downright miasmatic I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, a relentlessly slow-burn collection of bluesy and winded soul-folk that suggested an unholy union of Odetta and Tindersticks. On Neuroplasticity, her ear-popping sophomore long-player, she takes the “doom soul” architecture to […]

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Since Momentary Setback appeared in 2003, Marc Broussard’s career has been fascinating (as well as occasionally frustrating, given his potential) to observe for its spirit of experimentation in R&B, rock, and bluesy funk. On A Life Worth Living, his return to Vanguard Records, all that wandering and restlessness bear immense fruit. While those genres all […]

If Jad Fair ever needs a second job, he ought to consider becoming a motivational speaker. Fair opens Overjoyed, the first Half Japanese album in over a decade, with the words “Refresh the life that you now have/And be the best that you can possibly be/Enjoy the life that you now have/Happiness is victory — […]

On their major-label debut, The Birth, Oklahoma psych-rock purveyors Stardeath and White Dwarfs felt like a band standing in the shadow of fellow OKC residents and freak rock pioneers the Flaming Lips. While the album had its merits, it often struggled to find its own voice (even the cover art felt more representative of what […]

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